Play, movement and well-being for children with special needs
The goal of the special education school Ulvedalsskolen is the well-being of each the children with special needs, that are attending the school. Their focus is to help the children to take active part in social activities, and support that they develop strong capabilities in learning as well as personally.
The Trivselcenter Ulvedal - or Ulvedalsskolen - is a school in Silkeborg, Denmark, for children with social-emotional disabilities. It’s a minor school for just 35 pupils of all age-groups. In their daily life the school focus on improving the health and well-being of the children by encouraging them to be more physically active and eat a healthy diet. Everyday routines are for instance a walk in the morning and exercises and play outside during the day.
Another pedagogical focus of the school is on lowering the children's conflict levels by improving interactions and challenging them to further develop their motor skills. The effort resulted in a lowering of the conflict level from 2014 to 2019. In continuation hereof the school requested a new playground with improved features, that inspire to be active, play and development of motor skills. A play area which can be useful both in learning sessions and during breaks. This initiated a collaboration with Elverdal.
Creating a dynamic outdoor space
As a start we focused on the age spread of the children and their different challenges. We ended up with creating a natural division of the area so the children can play together in smaller and more homogenous groups.
The play area give space for a variation of activities and temper, and at the same time there should be clear demarcation between the different play zones.
All pupils must have the possibility of playing actively without others intruding or obstructing their play. In every play zones the children’s development of motor skills will be challenged in a safe environment.
We valued putting in many play values to the play equipment for them to be able to meet the different needs of the children.
All together the play equipment is providing the school a multi-purpose space giving both physical and sensory-motor challenges.
Vestibular sense: Swing and seesaws.
Kinesthetic sense: crawling, climbing, balancing and jumping.
Tactile sense: touching materials.